Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis team up again in the World Cup of Darts
Last Updated: 01/02/13 11:35pm
Phil Taylor (L) and Adrian Lewis celebrate 12 months ago
England's Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis begin their bid to retain the Betfair World Cup of Darts title in Hamburg on Friday.
Taylor and Lewis defeated Australian pair Simon Whitlock and Paul Nicholson in a dramatic sudden-death leg to win the title last year, and the Aussies are again in opposition.
The two nations could potentially meet again in this year's decider should they progress through three days of action at the Alsterdorfer Sporthalle, which begins with the opening Group Stage games.
With the 24 teams drawn into eight groups for the first round of the event, the unseeded nations will clash on Friday afternoon before the winning teams meet the seeded nation on Friday night.
The seeded nations will then play Friday afternoon's losing teams on Saturday afternoon in the decisive group games, before the top two countries from each group progress to the knockout phase of the £150,000 event.
Taylor and Lewis have been drawn in Group A with Austria and Japan, and Lewis, who hit last year's winning double, is confident of retaining the title.
"I'm really looking forward to the World Cup and I'm raring to go," said Lewis.
"It's a different type of event for us because it's pairs and we're used to playing for the majority of the year in singles events - but I've got the best partner anybody could have with Phil Taylor!
"It's great to be paired up with the new World Champion - and everyone will expect us to win our group against Austria and Japan, but I know it will get tougher as the tournament goes on.
"Australia made the final last year and Simon and Paul are quality players, Michael van Gerwen's probably been the best player in darts for the last year and he's playing with Raymond van Barneveld for Holland.
"When you look that Robert Thornton and Gary Anderson are back in form, you know Scotland will be tough too and teams like Germany, Northern Ireland and Wales have a lot of quality too, so it will be hard to win the title back."